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Ms. Ratna Sahay and Mr. Martin Cihak
Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to bank board members and regulators. A new study at the IMF finds that greater inclusion of women as users, providers, and regulators of financial services would have benefits beyond addressing gender inequality. Narrowing the gender gap would foster greater stability in the banking system and enhance economic growth. It could also contribute to more effective monetary and fiscal policy. New evidence suggests that greater access for women to and use of accounts for financial transactions, savings, and insurance can have both economic and societal benefits. For example, women merchants who opened a basic bank account tend to invest more in their businesses, while female-headed households often spend more on education after opening a savings account. More inclusive financial systems in turn can magnify the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies by broadening financial markets and the tax base. The paper also studies the large gaps between the representation of men and women in leadership positions in banks and in banking-supervision agencies worldwide. It finds that, shockingly, women accounted for less than 2 percent of financial institutions’ chief executive officers and less than 20 percent of executive board members. The analysis suggests that, controlling for relevant bank- and country-specific factors, the presence of women as well as a higher share of women on bank boards appears associated with greater financial resilience. This study also finds that a higher share of women on boards of banking-supervision agencies is associated with greater bank stability. This evidence strengthens the case for closing the gender gaps in leadership positions in finance.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper examines how surges in global financial market volatility spill over to emerging market economies (EMs) including India. The results suggest that a surge in global financial market volatility is transmitted very strongly to key macroeconomic and financial variables of EMs, and the extent of its pass-through increases with the depth of external balance-sheet linkages between advanced countries and EMs. The paper also looks at food inflation, which has often been singled out as a key driver of India’s high and persistent inflation.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that one of the most dramatic developments in the 20th century was the entry of women into economic and political spheres previously occupied almost exclusively by men. Although women are making progress in eliminating gender disparities, they still lag men in the workplace and in the halls of government. These gaps are found throughout the world, but are particularly pronounced in developing economies. So far, the greatest success has been in reducing education and health disparities and the least in increasing women’s economic and political influence.